…was my reaction when I saw an 8-track tape for the first time. It’s so inefficient and outdated! Why would anyone use this?

I also imagine that this will be the reaction of my, now 4 month old son, when he gets older and sees a phone book for the first time.

My wife and I received our beloved phone book in the mail yesterday…and it was trashed in less than 2 minutes. This really got me to thinking…

There are approximately 500 million telephone directories each year in this country (between yellow pages, white pages, grey pages, etc)…the population of the United States is not even estimated to hit 400 million until the year 2042, which means that we print enough phone books for almost every man, woman, and child to own two copies!

Assuming each book was 1.5″ thick (although, I’ve received several that were closer to 3″ thick), they would weigh 2.5lbs each. This brings us to a total of 1.25billion pounds of wasted paper per year.

We’re wasting the paper equivalent of the following:

  • 312,500 Ford F-150 Pick-up Trucks (basic model), or
  • 358,886 Ford Mustangs (V-8 model…because that is the only real model…), or
  • 38,461,538 sets of golf clubs, or
  • 78,125,000 bowling balls (16 lb), or
  • 2,500,000,000 Big Mac Hamburgers (that is 1 Big Mac for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for 2,283,105 years)

Now, I’ve heard that you can opt-out of receiving a phone book, but, until you change the default, the actions of the majority will remain unchanged.

We do crazy things in the name of conservation and recycling, but sometimes the simplest and most effective victories are right on our doorstep.